Published on March 31st, 2017 | by Bill
Coventry back on Wembley Way
We’ve been fully behind the Against League 3’s successful season-long #BTeamBoycott campaign, but with the final of the Check-a-trade / Chucklevision / Tinpot Trophy name of your choosing, delete as application, taking place at Wembley on Sunday, we thought we’d give a success-starved Coventry City fan the chance to tell us why so many of his fellow Sky Blues are attending this weekend’s game.
Fans of both Coventry, and their opponents, Oxford United are set to protest in and outside the ground on Sunday, so let’s hope the television cameras and assorted press give that the coverage it deserves, rather than play up to Shaun Harvey’s spin on the success of the re-badged Football League Trophy. And here’s hoping Against League 3 continue their fine work throughout the summer as our old foe, Harvey looks to shoe-horn his tired old ideas through another series of Football League meetings.
Over to Matty Roper…
Every football supporter dreams of watching their team walk out at Wembley in a cup final. 30 years ago, my team, Coventry City, famously achieved that feat as they triumphed over Tottenham Hotspur to lift the FA Cup.
Fast-forward to the present day and we have booked a place there again, this time in the Checkatrade Trophy. As far as competitions go, it has to be the most disregarded within football. The addition of B Teams certainly riled many and attendances all over the country were poor. So, ‘why aren’t Coventry City fans boycotting Wembley then?’ I hear you ask?
We deserve this day after all the torture we’ve been through, that’s why. Our club is heading for the fourth tier, we don’t own any viable assets and nobody even knows where we will be playing our football if we still exist in a year or so.
In the first week of ticket sales, we have sold around 25,000 and I fully expect us to take all of our 40,000 allocation to Wembley. A minority of opposition fans are giving us some stick for electing to attend, but if they were in our position, I’m sure they would snap them up too.
There are plenty of clubs being put through the wringer; Leyton Orient, Blackburn and Blackpool just to name a few. At Coventry, we honestly have NOTHING to look forward to. The future is incredibly bleak on and off the field, leading me and many others to fear for our very existence. Now 20 years of age, I have never seen the good times the Sky Blues have had.
The Jimmy Hill days, the FA Cup success, the decades of top flight football – I haven’t experienced any of that. For people my age, all we know is disappointment and failure, but I feel sorry for the older generation. They’ve had to watch Coventry rot into something almost unrecognisable. Formerly London-based rugby club, Wasps, now have control of the Ricoh Arena and we are mere tenants in our own City. Our current deal expires at the end of next season, and with SISU not on talking terms with the relevant parties, we could be homeless again sooner than we know it…
Back in 2013, similar rent dispute led to our owners taking Coventry City football club to ground-share at Sixfields, the home of Northampton Town 35 miles away. During that time, the club died in the eyes of many, but if a similar thing happened this time around, it would be doubly as catastrophic. As every football fan knows, your club is much more than just a sideshow, it’s a massive part of your life. To have it torn apart right in front of your eyes is soul destroying We, as fans seem powerless, The governing bodies are failing to act and I can’t see things improving at all – the club’s mess is now beyond repair. We have tried to vent our frustrations in many ways, including a march through the City, pitch invasions and boycotts.
Nothing seems to have an impact, we are still treated with minimal respect despite being the lifeblood of this club. Every party who has contributed to this disgraceful decimation of Coventry City deserves to hang their heads in shame. Our fan base are all fighting to keep the Sky Blues alive, but the divide between supporters is huge die to a lack of transparency from our owners and their plans. You have to take everything said with a pinch of salt as the majority is simply smoke and mirrors.
I just wish those who can influence what happens to Coventry City could remember what it means to the people of Coventry. It’s difficult to see why anybody would invest in the club now it is on life support, but we are aiming to use Wembley as an advertisement to potential new owners. The potential we have is huge and hopefully a sea of 40,000 City fans can help people realise that.
I, and many others are not particularly bothered if we beat Oxford and lift the trophy – we just want to enjoy the day out. Following this club around the country is a chore in all honesty, but we can only pray that our spiral towards the abyss halts before it’s too late. If things continue in the way they are currently, non-league football looks likely, as does liquidation.
It’s horrible to say that about the club you have ingrained in your heart, but it it realistic unfortunately. All we can do now is prepare for life in League 2, but before we pack our bags for the trips to Exeter and Carlisle, let’s savour April 2nd. Of course, it’s ironic that we’ve reached a final in our worst ever season, but our supporter’s deserve at least one day off from the nightmare we call Coventry City.